Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Thought of Modesty Lost

"My mother, you ask? She was—how shall I say it?—different. No woman among us in the camp, or out there in the grazing fields, was as captivating as her. 
It was not just her beauty; nor was it the regal manner in which she carried herself, as if her tent served only as a temporary, makeshift shelter, a place to stay until the completion of a some new, modern wing in an imaginary palace. If there was something that set her apart from all other women, it was her garments.
She would never wear a burka, unlike my grandmother Sarah, bless her soul, who must be turning in her grave, horrified at the thought of modesty lost. Instead of the traditional loose clothes covering the entire body, my mother adorned herself with exotic silks, bought from merchants in Damascus, which hugged her figure tightly. The silks, I mean—not the merchants. 
She collected an array of translucent, sheer veils of fantastic rainbow colors, which she wore, I am told, on her wedding night. My father found it enchanting. The first time he had actually seen her face was, of course, the morning after. With the veil removed, she had fainted upon seeing him. It was not the excitement of first love. No—it must have been the corset; a tight undergarment contraption which, according to gossip, she had brought with her from the North, to keep her figure in shape.  
Everyone knew she was homesick. It was no secret she would have done anything, back then, for a trip back home; but this being the middle of nowhere, far away from the towns and the settlements, out there in the densely populated regions to the west of us, there was no bus to be found; and my father insisted that a plane ticket was out of the question."

Yankle introducing his mother, Becky (Rebecca) to his listener, in A Favorite Son.


This piece, in which I described Rebecca, Jacob's mother, is a companion piece to the one I showed earlier of Jacob. I imagined her rather elegant, delicate, young--much younger than her righteous husband Isaac--and most of all, unsatisfied in her married life, which in my story brings her to scheming against her husband. In a future post I will both pieces together, which will make clear the relationship between these two souls. 


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4 comments:

  1. Very picturesque, as usual. Beautiful.

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  2. Replies
    1. Great Sheila! From your book about biblical themes I know this is near and dear to your heart, too!

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